My 1994 Magna
Disc Lock Reminder Helmet Lock Relocation Headlight Modulator
Brake Flasher Headlight Conversion Aftermarket Horn
Clock, etc. Custom Fender Reflective Decals
Polished Finned Engine Covers

Click on the pictures for a larger image.

After my 1978 Honda XL 175 was stolen in Nov. 2003, I decided I really wanted a larger cruiser to enjoy traveling the back roads. I really wasn't into the off-road scene anyway, and taking trips on a motorcycle really appealed to me. As luck would have it, I found a 1994 Honda Magna with 10,000 miles for sale at a local dealer, and bought it in Dec. 2003.


Current views of my Magna


2004 pictures


Early 2007 pictures

Of course, I couldn't just let it remain stock, so within a week I modified the exhaust based on a tip I found on the Magna Owners of Texas site. That turned the purring sound to a bit of a snarl - perfect! Next, I replaced the stock seat with a Corbin Gunfighter, complete with stitched flame details (bought used, thanks to the Magna Riders Association site). MUCH more comfortable than the stock seat, and it raises the cool factor several notches. I also put on some retaining cables (fishing leader line) on the side covers, and removed the rear license plate reflector and trimmed up the license plate bracket so it wouldn't stick out past the license plate, based on tips on the MRA site. I added reflector screws to hold the license plate on.

After riding the bike on the highway, I noticed the strong wind blast on my upper body caused by the upright riding position and the fairly wide bars. I found a National Cycle Street Shield EX (#2568) on ebay, and installed it. It makes a world of difference at highway speeds, and looks pretty cool! I was originally planning to remove it with the quick disconnect it comes with when cruising around town, but it looks so good, I think I will leave it on.

DISC LOCK REMINDER
(Dec. 2003) I bought a disc lock, and like anyone else, I don't really want to try and take off with a lock attached to the front wheel - bad news. So.......I made a lock reminder to help prevent that from happening. I used a plastic outlet cover - the kind that keeps kids from sticking forks in the outlets - and cut off one of the two prongs. I then trimmed the other prong so it will fit snugly in my ignition switch. I drilled a hole in the cover, put in a key ring, and voila - done! Now when I put on the disc lock, I take the reminder and put it in my ignition switch.

HELMET LOCK RELOCATION
(Jan. 2004) I also relocated the helmet lock to the front fender. The Magna helmet lock is essentially useless, since if you use it, your helmet ends up laying on the hot exhaust. I removed the two right side fender bolts and the spacer bracket. I then removed the helmet lock from the stock bracket - it has two bolts that hold it on that are removed from the back side. The bolt heads are round, so you need to use a pair of pliers. I used the fender spacer bracket and the helmet lock to sketch out a replacement bracket out of 3/16" strip steel. Using my fancy tool kit of hacksaw, drill and bench grinder, I fabbed the bracket. I needed new spacers, and luckily found two 3/8" nuts that will work well until I find something more cosmetically appealing. I had to bend the bracket slightly to allow clearance for the bolts holding the lock to the bracket. This will enable me to lock my helmet in a spot that will be easily accessible. I do have a pattern available for the bracket if someone wants to duplicate it. Just send email to seebee65 @ iwon.com - and be sure to take out the spaces.


The spacers, new bracket, stock fender bracket and helmet lock

The fender with the stock bracket (L), and pictures of the new bracket and helmet lock installed

(March 2004) I installed a set of very nice used Cobra steel floorboards. Installation was a snap, although it does require adjusting the rear brakes (simple) and raising the shift lever (removing clutch cover, and taking shift rod off of the shaft). Don't forget to adjust the rear brake light switch too! The comfort level is excellent, and I think it looks awesome. I also installed a Hondaline rack I bought used. I actually bought a used rack, brackets and sissy bar, but will leave the sissy bar off except on longer trips. The rack is sturdy and flows with the bike's lines very well. I picked up some longer bolts at the hardware store, since the stock fender rail bolts are too short. And, after seeing them shout up at me all this time, I finally removed the warning labels from the gas tank using a hair dryer and some WD40. The passenger footpegs were also removed, since no one in the family wants to ride 2 up.


The tank before and after removing the warning stickers (L),
and pictures of my Magna with the Cobra floorboards and Hondaline rack installed

HEADLIGHT MODULATOR
(March 2004) Since riding season is coming on fast, I decided I wanted to up the safety factor a bit. I bought a
Starburst II Headlight modulator from Kriss Industries - only $53, including shipping! It isn't a plug-n-play unit like the Kisan Pathblazer, and it does require cutting wires, but no big deal. I put the unit behind the plastic neck cover, and installed a weatherproof switch on the cover that can enable or disable the unit. It also has a light sensor that disables the modulator at night. I use Posi-Lock connectors on my car and motorcycle, as they are the quickest and most secure connectors I have found. I covered the wires with a long length of heat shrink tubing and passed them through the back of the headlight housing. The light sensor was zip tied to the brake line under the headlight housing. The whole installation only took an hour or so, and that's only because I wanted it to look professional. The best part is, it really works! I noticed a lot more attention from drivers on the road. The day after I installed it, I went for a ride, and a gal in a little import that was about to turn left right in front of me stopped and stared. I was all set to stop, but didn't have to. I will still maintain my paranoid vigilance, but it's nice to have a bit of an edge now. Another little safety feature was installing some $2 mini wide angle spot mirrors on my stock mirrors.


The weatherproof switch on the neck cover, and 2 views of the modulator and wiring tucked inside.

UPDATE! The Kriss modulator crapped out on me. I tried to contact them several times, but never got a response. So, I pulled all the stuff out and went back to the standard wiring. But, once Spring rolled around again, I wanted my modulator back, so I did a little research, and went with the VisiPath modulator, model number sS75H4. They sell direct on their site, and also on ebay. I could have gone with the 115w model, but my lights are 65w max, so I didn't see the need. I like it. It's compact, plugs directly into the back of the headlight, and it only took me about 15 minutes.

BRAKE FLASHER
(March 2004) In my quest for more safety and visibility, I purchased a brake flasher unit from
Top Serve. For a little over $25, it looked like a good unit. It features 4 large, very bright LEDs that can be set to flash on deceleration (a mercury switch inside the unit), or flash continuously whenever the brake is applied. I chose the continuous flash mode, accomplished by mounting the unit with the cover side down. I did not want to mount it to the license plate, which is suggested, since I thought that looked a bit unwieldy, and it was too easy to damage the unit. Instead, I chose to mount it on the underside of my Hondaline rack. I used 3M heavy duty mounting pad tape, and spliced into the wiring harness under the left side fender rail. The whole thing mounts pretty slick, and is very secure, yet still very visible. I used bullet connectors so I can detach the rack and light as a unit if desired. The LEDs are VERY bright, and extremely noticeable from the rear, and to a lesser degree from the side as well.


Wiring the flasher, and the mount location.

HEADLIGHT CONVERSION
(March 2004) I was not really satisfied with the light output of the stock headlight, and I was looking for alternatives. Unfortunately, any major change would cost $150+. I tripped across an alternative on the Web, and ended up buying a converted stock Magna housing. It has an Adjure Ice housing (fits Harleys) that is epoxied into the stock housing using JB Weld or high temp epoxy, after the stock housing has had the glass removed and a 2" hole is drilled in the back. It uses an H4 bulb. I opted for the Sylvania Silverstar H4 ST. After installing it, I tried it out, and it is BRIGHT! The new light takes up a bit more room in the headlight shell, but it will fit. For more information, go
HERE, HERE, or HERE.


Front and rear view of the new headlight.

UPDATE! I decided to go with something a little more stylish than my stock headlight, so I bought a headlight and billet aluminum mount adapter on ebay. Check with Chromemagnaman for some pretty good stuff. There are other mounts available too. For the time being, I just removed the turn signal crossbar from the stock mount by grinding through the spot welds very carefully. I'll eventually put on some aftermarket turn signals. As part of this project, I also tucked the mess of wiring that occupies the stock headlight shell under the neck covers. I disconnected one set of wiring at a time, and made some small relief cuts on the stock sleeves to make it work, checking for slack and chafing points. It all fits under there with no problem. I had to cut the 3 wires leading to the headlight connector, thread them through the opening in the new headlight shell, and reconnect to the harness inside the shell with Posi-Lock connectors.



The new headlight and mount, and the relocated wiring.

AFTERMARKET HORN
(March 2004) The stock horn has a pathetic "meep" sound, and even bicyclists gave me a pitying look when I used it. I opted for a louder horn, and bought a
Fiamm Freeway Blaster, Low tone, for $13 at Advance Auto Parts. I removed the stock horn, flattened out the Fiamm mounting bracket, and installed the Blaster in the stock location, using the stock wires. I made sure the horn opening was pointing down, and I did have to adjust it slightly so the stock wiring would reach, but it worked. 10 minutes was all it took, and I now have an increased presence on the road.


4 views of the new Freeway Blaster horn.

CLOCK
(June 2006) I added a "motorcycle clock" to my Magna instrument cluster. It's actually a cheap stainless steel waterproof watch I got at WalMart. I just removed the straps and attached it using Velcro.

SADDLEBAGS
(2006) I added Easy Brackets for quick detachment of my saddlebags without leaving ugly hardware behind. I also recently upgraded to some new saddlebags.

CENTERSTAND, FOOTPEG EXTENDERS
(2006) I also sprung for Cycleistic's centerstand, brakestay rod and passenger footpeg extenders. I haven't had much luck with the centerstand (unless I put the rear wheel up on a 2" board), but I'm hoping with my new taller rear tire it will work better. The brakestay rod will allow clearance for the bigger tire, and the passenger footpeg extension are for looks and for comfort of any passengers.

UPDATE! With the new Dunlop 170-80 K555 tire on the rear, I've been able to use the centerstand! It actually works very well. It does require a bit of special technique, but with a little practice, I'm now getting it up on the centerstand on the first try most of the time.

"CUSTOM" FENDER
(June 2007) I've always been a little disappointed that the front fender was so small. All the road crap just gets plastered all over the front of the engine and the exhaust pipes. I looked at some custom front fenders available, but I didn't feel like spending over $100. So, I did some looking and found a guy who had modified a Honda Shadow fender to fit, and it looked good. I found a damaged one cheap on ebay, and it sat in my garage for over a year. But, since I had to take the wheels off to replace the tires anyway, it seemed like a good time to play with it. The mounts were broken, and there was a huge gash on the front lip, and a crack on the other side, but I planned to cut all that out, since I needed to drill new mount holes anyway.
I traced out some possible cut lines on the fender with tape, and then I freehanded a cut line with a Sharpie. Next, I traced the stock fender line onto a template for reference when making the cut pattern for the other side, and then I cut it with a jig saw using a medium plastic cutting blade at low speed. I covered the bottom of the base plate with masking tape to avoid scratching the fender. It made a really nice cut. Next, I placed the template back on the fender, using reference points, and traced the new cut line onto it. I flipped the fender over and placed the template on, matching to the reference points and the stock curve. I used an Xacto blade and made short cuts through the template onto the fender. I removed the template and had a "dotted line" to follow with my Sharpie. I cut along the line with the jig saw, and then used a Dremel and a medium drum sander mounted in my drill to smooth it out and remove all the burrs. I finished by sanding by hand to get a very smooth, slightly rounded edge to the fender. It doesn't match the original edge exactly, but it looks really good.


REFLECTIVE DECALS
(June 2007) I decided to go with a skull theme on my bike, and I found these reflective decals on ebay. They look awesome, are available in many colors, and are extremely bright white reflective no matter what the base color is. Safety and style all in one.

FINNED ENGINE COVERS
(July 2007) Several months ago, I purchased a set of powdercoated engine covers with the aluminum edge of the fins exposed. I polished up the edges a bit more and installed them on the bike. This isn't a simple one hour operation - it takes a while to get to all the mounting bolts. You need to take off the faux chrome air covers, remove the lower radiator bolts and loosen the top one, swing the radiator out, probably remove the horn if it's in the way, take off the chrome cylinder head covers and the spark plug boots, and then you can remove the finned engine covers. I went a step further and painted the mounting bolts black so that they blend in. I'm really happy with how it looks!

Some of my riding stories:
The potential hazards of speaking before thinking.
The tale of my encounter with a winged warrior.

If you want to talk about these projects, or motorcycles in general, send email to seebee65 @ iwon.com - just be sure to take out the spaces!